I just came across this sentence:

> I don't know who you're.

As a native English speaker, that strikes me as grammatically incorrect, but I can't for the life of me figure out what rule it breaks.

@codesections I don't know the fancy names, but the reason it's grammatically incorrect is because if it were "you're" then you would expect another word after it.

(as opposed to "you are" which would end the sentence)

@dajbelshaw @codesections it's a weird rule too, because some contractions are fine for ending sentences.

"You can't"
"But you're"
"it isn't"

@rune @codesections

🤔 Hmm...

Are you suggesting that those contractions are OK for ending sentences? I'm not sure I would agree that they would be grammatically correct outside of direct speech... 😃

@rune @dajbelshaw @codesections Wait, where do people really say, “But you’re”? I live between the Midwest and the South of the U.S., and I’ve never heard it.

@IslandUsurper sorry that middle one was an example that doesn't work.

@rune @dajbelshaw @codesections I think it is less of breaking a grammatical rule than misusing the stylistic device of the ellipsis. With "You can't", the speaker implies "You can't do that." respectively (maybe a bit contrived) "It isn't like that."
"But you're" also feels wrong to me. At least I don't know what you mean, there is something missing, what "are you"?

So I agree, it is weird, probably because people have different expectations and someone else may know how to complete this.

@dajbelshaw @codesections has some discussion on it, though I think I like this explanation best:
"Contractions can be used in any position in a sentence; however, homophone contractions such as "it's" and "they're" sound better when followed by another word or phrase. The reason is that the sounds of "its" and "it's" and "they're" and "their" are so similar that they can be confusing unless they are used with the context of an additional word. "

@codesections Technically legal, "I do not know who you are." But a trailing contraction is unusual.

@codesections it doesn't break any *hard rules*. It breaks the soft rule that you shouldn't end a sentence with a contraction.

This is because until relatively recently, contractions were a form of slang. Shakespeare really made contractions popular, but also Tennyson and Pope and others did so as well.

More recently, certain contractions have become codified in our grammars.

"You're" is a word now

"E'now, th'eternal" are both examples that have fallen out of favor.

@codesections these are all carry over soft rules from the French hard rules.

@codesections not gonna lie. I wrote a paper that was published in the Journal of English Linguistics and Philological Studies that touched on this very point. This very question just makes me feel all warm inside... finally, I actually k.ow something.

I could give a whole semester of lectures on the rules of contraction and their history.

:jrbd: :jrbd: :jrbd:

@codesections It breaks the "Never end a sentence in 'you're'" rule.

@codesections contractions can only be used when the verb they contract is in the transitive form

@codesections I think the issue is that we wouldn't say it that way out loud.

@codesections I agree. I wouldn't use "you're" in this sort of case, but I do run into it from non-native speakers from time to time. I will never do it myself, but it's not bad enough for me to complain about it to someone.
@codesections I also wouldn't reply "Yes, I'm." if someone said "Are you there?"

@codesections I agree. Isn't there some grammatical rule that you can't end a sentence in a contraction?


> Isn't there some grammatical rule that you can't end a sentence in a contraction?

Maybe you know of one, but I don't.

I have a friend who runs a company with “skill” in its name; its slogan is “you’ve it, we enhance it” (as in “you have the skill, we enhance it”). The contraction always seems wrong to me, but it’s hard to explain why without ad-hoc made-up sounding rules.

@digital_carver @codesections i think you've and you're should always be followed by a verb because they are only contracted then. e.g. you're getting it, you've got it. "you've it" is bad grammar and should be "you've got it".

There are two different kinds of "have".
1) hold, possess (I have a book)
2) auxiliary verb used to form the perfect tense (I have eaten).

In /American/ English we don't contract #1 (I've a book), but it's acceptable in British English, or "old-fashioned" American.


@codesections I asked my brother, the English teacher. His response:

"I haven’t looked into it, but I suspect that it is more of a formality and convention issue. Contractions are already seen as informal and would not be used in high level academic writing. Using you’re in the manner you shared would also just be unconventional. It is the kind of mistake that indicates outsider. Like people who say Ne-vah-dah. It isn’t “wrong” but it isn’t right."

@mike @codesections

As I understand it there's two "proper" ways "Nevada" is pronounced by locals: one while one is speaking English and the other while one is speaking Spanish. The version outsiders often want to use while speaking English is closer to the Spanish version, but with a slightly different emphasis.

@john Yes, the version often used by people who don't live there is wrong in both English and Spanish. :)


@mike @john @codesections I'm guilty of saying Nev vah dah. I'm also from an area where everyone else thinks we speak funny...

@codesections It does feel like something should follow. And, Liam Neeson would never say it like that. 😊

For those not aware, I was referring to a line from the Taken movie series.

@codesections Grammar is prescriptive or descriptive. The 1st is concerned with 'correctness' which is 'prescribed' by the dialect of the powerful, e.g. in English 'ain't' is prescriptively incorrect. The 2nd describes the rules of the language as spoken. Descriptively I know of no dialect where your example would be used natively. I would guess that prescriptively there is a rule somewhere about a contraction needing a follower. It could also cause confusion with the homophone 'your'.

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